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Cameron, Anne.

Madeira Park (B.C.), Harbour Publishing, 1987.288pp, cloth, $19.95, ISBN 0-920080-22-7. CIP

Reviewed by Barbara J. Graham

Volume 16 Number 3
1988 May

Since her first novel, Dreamspeaker, was published over eight years ago, author Anne Cameron has enjoyed success with both her poetry and fiction. Cameron's carefully honed sense of the ridiculous, her love of the interplay of fantasy and reality, and her innate sense of the Tightness of certain issues make what she has to say of interest and importance to her readers. Her feminist leanings add a soupcon of spice to the delightful narrative.

Stubby Amberchuk hardly seems the stuff of which romantic heroines are made. At the outset, her realistic search fin the Holy Grail taxes the imagination. Yet, the author pulls it off in a variety of humorously provocative ways. Dragons appear and disappear mysteriously along.

Stubby is a feisty heroine who grows in the novel from being the product of an unhappy shotgun marriage into a wealthy landowner, able to help those around her realize their potential.

Living not too far away from Stubby as a child is Megan, whose chosen career, wrestling, is strange but right for her, just as high-stakes poker is right for Stubby. It was inevitable that they should meet because of the dragon. . .

What results is an entertaining story with solid foundations leading to much thought, beautifully wrapped in the guise of humour and fantasy. For library communities that feel ready to risk annoying those who feel young people should not be exposed to coarse language and unconventional sexual relationships, Stubby Amberchuck and the Holy Grail will irreverently expose the reader to a colourful band of characters, some of whom may be both real and truly fantastic, living lives of excitement and monotony.

Barbara J. Graham, Board of Education for the City of London, London, Ont.
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